Friday, August 27, 2010

Chancellor Joel Klein Refuses To Face The Truth. All His Efforts To Narrow The Racial & Income Achievement Gap Has Failed.

Chancellor Joel Klein is simply amazing. Despite what the facts are he manages to spin them to show how well he and the mayorlife, Michael Bloomberg have improved education in the New York City Public Schools. What a joke and a lie to boot. Now despite all the data coming out of the 2010 tests the Chancellor falsely claims that that he has made progress. Progress? according to the Daily News the income achievement gap actually widened! Who is lying to who? Maybe we should be calling Joel Klein the lying Chancellor.

Even after the State data showed that New York City failed in closing the academic achievement gap and the DOE claims being universally panned by education critics and supporters alike, the lying Chancellor wrote an article for the New York Post that was addressed to parents about how they have raised the academic standards and closed the achievement gap. Unbelievable! Of course he really cannot use the New York State or Federal data to show proof of his claims but he does not care. As Joseph Goebbels stated "If you tell a big lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually believe it". When the data does not support your case either ignore it or blame it on others. Remember, it was back in March of 2009 when the lying Chancellor said this:

he New York City schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein who introduced the findings at the National Press Club in Washington, said the study vindicated the idea that the root cause of test-score disparities was not poverty or family circumstances, but subpar teachers and principals.

Yes, he blamed it on the teachers and principals not on his failed education policy. The New York Times included the Chancellor's statement in their write up of the McKinsey & Company report. I previously wrote about this before here. Well, as far as I am concerned, the Bloomberg/Klein education policy is a failure and no matter how much spinning of statistics and lying comes out of the two non-educators, the bottom line is the lying Chancellor deserves a failing grade on his report card. Furthermore, evidence in his failure to close the achievement gap is shown in the latest composite ACT data, published by Anna Phillips of Gotham News which show that the increase in ACT scores came primarily from White and Asian students while Black and Hispanic students showed little change since 2005. In fact, Black and Hispanic students failed the college-readiness benchmarks in all four academic areas that serve to determine whether a student needs remedial college courses. This is the same as in 2005 and shows no progress at all. In all fairness I must add that my fellow blogger JD2718 rightly questioned the student sample of the composite ACT test and the conclusions based on that sample for New York City students and is a must read here. However, this article is about the achievement gap and not about testing protocols. Therefore, the composite ACT test still is valid for this purpose and shows the large achievement gap and even demostrates a widening of it in the last five years.

Since the New York State RTTT requires evaluations based upon student testing, then based upon the terrible 2010 results, the Chancellor's report card is a "F" and he should be rated "ineffective".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Is Al Sharpton Quiet About Klein & Bloomberg's Documented Failure To Close The Racial Achievement Gap Despite Their Bogus Claims To Have Done So?

I am very interested to hear from Al Sharpton on the failure of Chancellor Joel Klein & Mayor Michael Bloomberg's claim to have narrowed the racial achievement gap since they took over the running of the NYC Public Schools in 2002. Presently, the usually outspoken Al Sharpton has been strangely quiet about the disastrous conclusions coming out of the New York State tests for 2010 and the NAEP results. Could it be about the apparently close interaction between Al Sharpton and the DOE as identified in the New York City Public School Parents blog? It was back in the Spring of 2009 that the same blog question the motives of the man when Al Sharpton joined forces with Joel Klein to form the Education Equity Project. This project was to further narrow the achievement gap, instead the latest numbers have found that the narrowing of the achievement gap is simply "smoke and mirrors". If anything the racial achievement gap has widened! Al Sharpton should be outraged, instead there is just deafening silence from him, why?

Black Males Graduation Rates and 8th Grade Reading Levels:

First, let's look at what has happened to black males, an alleged top priority for Al Sharpton in the New York City Public Schools. According to the Schott Foundation Of Public Education report, the graduation rate for Black males was a dismal 28% (Whites had a 50% graduation rate). This put New York City near the bottom of the lowest preforming large metropolitan areas for black male graduation rates. The black male graduation rate for New York City was the same as the troubled public school systems as Philadelphia, and New Orleans. While only 9% of the black males read at grade level which is actually less than a 10% rate back in 2003. The article about the report was summarized by the New York daily News and can be found here.

Racial Achievement Gap Fails To Narrow:

The latest information shows that under Bloomberg & Klein the racial achievement gap has failed to narrow since they took over. The composite reading scores of third to eighth grades, Blacks were 30% below their White counterparts and in Math 35% below. The New York Times reported these terrible results here. According to NY1, the racial achievement gap is as wide as back in 2002, when Bloomberg & Klein took control of the New York City schools. In fact The Daily News claimed the achievement gap actually widened between the rich and poor students.

New York State Test Scores Showed The Greatest Declines Among Minority Students & Schools:

Gotham Schools printed the top and bottom 15 middle schools, based upon the New York State tests and one thing was very obvious. The top schools had a substantial population of White and Asian students while the bottom 15 was made up of Black and Hispanic students. Furthermore, the minority based schools like PS 85 in the Bronx saw one of the more dramatic reversals seeing their third grade passing rate going from 81% passing in Math to 18% passing.

Klein Starves The Schools Of Funds While Increasing The Headcount At Tweed:

Finally, Al Sharpton has not commented on how the schools have been starved for funds (a 12% cutback in the last two years) while Tweed just increases their headcount of non-educators. Furthermore, where is Al Sharpton's outrage when Joe Klein tried an ill-advised and immoral procedure to get rid of an Autistic program to help one of Bloomberg's hedge fund founders to expand the exclusive Charter School that shares the building.

Then again Al Sharpton is really a politician and wants what is best for him and not what is best for the community he is supposed to represent.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Will The Closing Of Neighborhood High Schools In New York City Result In Increasing Violence To Students Like In Chicago?

I was watching NBC's Dateline on the violence perpetrated on teenagers, especially high school students. Shockingly, one of the primary reasons for the increased violence was the closing of many of the neighborhood high schools in Chicago, requiring students to travel long distances to other schools that may be in the territory of a rival gang. The result has been increased violence against these students and even homicide. In Chicago there were 280 major attacks on students and 32 homicides. The Chicago police believe that the violence wold be less if the students stayed in their own neighborhood but with so many high schools closed, more students are required to travel further away from the safety of their neighborhood to attend school. While the Superintendent of Schools claims that this is not true, the police, and parents of attacked students feel differently.

Now travel to New York City where the DOE wants to follow the example of Chicago in a mass closing of neighborhood high schools (19 were slated for closing until the courts stopped the DOE). Just like in Chicago, the replacement schools will limit the amount of "at risk" students to the schools and usually has a total school population of less than half of the closed school. This requires many students to travel long distances to get to the few schools who accept them. Since this means traveling into other neighborhoods and yes, different gangs in that neighborhood, what do you think will happen? Yes more violence.

For example, one of the high schools slated to close is in a "Crips neighborhood". One of the few schools who will take the "at risk" students from the closing school is located in a "Bloods neighborhood". I'm sure you can figure out what will happen in and out of the school as the students travel long distances into enemy territory. However, just like Chicago, the DOE has seemed to ignore that inconvenient problem and are closing their collective minds to the potential upsurge in student violence due to the closing of the neighborhood schools. Will it take a Dateline story to release that closing the neighborhood high schools just puts those students at greater risk to gang violence but then again it is not about the students but just part of Tweed's "children last" policy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Are Principals Hiding Vacancies? It Certainly Appears So.

I have spoken to many ATRs and have myself gone on the Open Market Transfer System (OMTS) and was appalled by the lack of positions, especially in shortage areas. What made me suspicious was that I have a friend who is a Chapter Leader and the Principal came to him about a hard-to-fill vacancy. I looked on the OMTS and it was not listed! Now I read where Principal Ramon Gonzales of MS 223 in the South Bronx has hired four "newbie teachers", once the hiring freeze was lifted, claiming that the 40 ATRs (yes, 40) he interviewed did not meet his exacting standards (young, cheap, and untenured). How many other principals are doing the same? Now I hear many Brooklyn principals have quietly started to offer positions that appeared to be hidden during the OMTS. If true? Why didn't the union or Tweed put a stop to it?

It is just a matter of time before the citywide hiring freeze will be lifted and I will not be surprised to see many new vacancies appearing that were not available during the OMTS period and are only for "newbie teachers". Somebody (our union?) should be doing an in depth investigation on how the teacher vacancies were advertised and who filled them. I am sure the investigation will find a pattern on who was hired if they look hard enough.

The post by my fellow blogger "Accountable Talk" is a must read and further explains what may happen to the ATRs in the future. While I am more optimistic then Mr. Talk, I can't say his scenario is not possible, if unlikely. Just the fact it could happen is more about our lack of union leadership and activism and less about Tweed when it comes to the ATRs. We all know what Tweed wants but do we know what our union leadership really wants when it comes to the members?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chancellor Joel Klein Should Be Sent To Jail For His Actions Against The Most Vulnerable Of Children In His "Children Last" Policy.

The actions of that bully, Chancellor Joel Klein, just gets worse when it comes to the New York City Public Schools. Now the Chancellor has sided with an exclusive Charter School, founded by wealthy hedge fund managers, and giving them more school space at the expense of the autistic program, the most vulnerable of the children in the school system.

The Chancellor has invoked his emergency powers to overrule the State Department of Education decision not to expanded the Charter School, Girls Preparatory Charter School at PS 94. He falsely stated that he used his "emergency powers" to protect the health, welfare, and general safety of the Charter School students (how is this true?) while ignoring the more needy and vulnerable autistic students at PS 94.The Chancellor's rationale for invoking his "emergency powers" is just a blatant example of his abusing his powers to protect the billionaire hedge fund managers that support the Charter School at the expense of the special education program at PS 94. The NYC Public School Parents Blog wrote an excellent article on the interconnecting of all the big players in the NYC Charter School support group that led to the Chancellor's decision to use (abuse) his "emergency powers" in this case. The New York Times also had a good article on the wealthy founders of the Charter School.

The Chancellor's continued contempt of parental input is obvious here as the parents of the autistic students could not get an audience with him about the elimination of the program. Interestingly, only the DOE media mouthpiece, the New York Daily News editorial staff (Pravda) supported the Chancellor's abuse of power.

While the Chancellor really cannot be put in jail for abusing the use of his "emergency powers" his judgement against the autistic students is morally wrong and the State should have a hearing on the Chancellor's decision. Furthermore, the parents should file civil charges against the Chancellor for his picking on the school system's most vulnerable students, the autistic children.

The Chancellor's actions only show that it is the "privileged children first" and the rest of the public school students last. For the public school students it is always "children last" when it comes to the Chancellor and his non-educator cronies.

Friday, August 06, 2010

New York City To Get $200 Million To Hire Teachers. Will They? Not If Tweed Is Given Total Control Of the Money.

The United States Senate has passed a bill that will add 600 million dollars to New York State to rehire or save 7,100 teaching jobs. New York City should receive about 200 million of the funds, much of it earmarked for teacher hiring, and this should allow the City to replace the over 2,000 teachers who have let the school system due to attrition. Further, it puts to rest Mayor Bloomberg's faulty connection of freezing teacher raises to avoid layoffs. In addition, the added money will allow the City to reduce class sizes and add school programs slated for elimination. However, this is the Department Of Education (DOE) where their priorities are not what is best for the schools or students but what is best for Tweed. Furthermore, who will oversee the funding to ensure the money will be spent properly?

During Chancellor Joel Klein's Administration there has been a lack of transparency and accountability in giving out taxpayer money. For example, the New York State Comptroller wrote a scathing report that showed that during the three year period ending on June 30, 2008 the DOE issued an astounding 291 no-bid contracts worth 342.5 million dollars in apparent violation of the City contracting requirements. Furthermore, can we really forget about Tweed hiring a $374,000 thousand dollar hypnotherapist last year? Now the City will be getting a $200 million dollar shot in the arm for hiring teachers. However, given the history of Tweed, how can we be sure the money will go for it's intended use? To allow Tweed to determine the use of the money, without oversight, is like allowing the fox into the chicken coop!

To me, the money the City receives for education should be tracked by an independent agency to ensure all the money is being used for the intended purpose, that is to hire teachers. To allow the Bloomberg Administration to give Tweed total control of the funds will probably result in the funds not being used to add teachers to the school system but to add to the headcount at Tweed, or fund more unnecessary high priced consultants, and useless programs. Based on Tweed's past actions it is a very bad idea for the Klein Administration to handle the funds without stringent oversight.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It Is Time To "Drain The Swamp" Of Non-Educators And Unecessary Programs At Tweed.

As a very interested observer and victim of the bizarre priorities of those non-educators that inhabit the leadership positions at Tweed as they practice their ongoing "children last" program. It is time that the real educators take back the Department of Education (DOE) and let teachers teach that is best for their students. While the BloomKlein media mouthpieces, the New York Daily News and The New York Post, see no wrong with their destructive education policies, educators know better. Let's look at how Tweed has mismanaged the New York City public schools.

School budget cuts of 12% in the last two years while the headcount of the central bureaucracy actually sAW a 70% increase. Unbelievable! Many of the increases at Tweed were for high priced lawyers and managers at the expense of lower paid school aides and clerical staff at school support offices. In addition, there seems to be no end to the hiring of highly priced consultant services, using a no-bid contract program with little or no impact on the classroom. An example of this is the hiring of a new-age hypnotherapist for$374,000 dollars. South Bronx School also wrote about others, Here. Moreover, the increase in the vast amount of unnecessary paperwork that now forces teachers to spent most of their free time doing .

A taxpayer funded "Principal Leadership Academy" that produce inept and incompetent principals who have little or no classroom experience and in many cases never received tenure as a teacher in New York City!. An example of this is Principal Madonado-Rivera of Columbia Prep Secondary School who SCI identified as being responsible for the death of Nicole Suriel. Over this year alone, these "Leadership Academy principals" lack common sense Here, Here, and Here.

A "fair student funding" formula that only hurts the schools as it limits the hiring of experienced teachers and result in lower academic achievement. Furthermore, it forces principals to hire newbie teachers at the expense of classroom management and student discipline. Any Principal who hires an experienced teacher will have to reduce the school's budget in other areas.

Eliminate the Mayor controlled PEP and bring back an independent Board Of Education. Currently, whatever the Mayor and Chancellor want the PEP does and they are simply a rubber stamp for both of them. This travesty must end.

We really do need to "drain the swamp" by bringing the DOE back to the educators, parents, and students if we are to see real academic achievement.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The New York Daily News Editorial Board Is Simply A Propagana Outlet For The Bloomberg Administration When It Comes To Education

It is becoming increasingly obvious, even to education deformers, that the miracle of academic improvement in the Bloomberg years was really a mirage. Based on the national NAEP results, the gold standard for testing, there has been only a slight improvement in the 4th grade and little change for the 8th grade for reading (in fact NYC was dead last in 8th grade reading changes between 2003 to 2009 of all major cities) and the same goes for Math (However, there was no significant improvements since 2007 in either the Math or reading test results) Even our not-so-wonderful Mayor used doublespeak to explain his spin of continued academic improvement. Steve Koss had a insightful article in the New York City School Parents blog on the Mayor's s bumbling speech and it can be found at Gotham News. However, not all the media mouthpieces saw that the phony academic gains were really "smoke and mirrors" .

The New York Daily News Editorial Board ignored the New York State testing results and still claimed that the Bloomberg/Klein Administration has made great strides in the education of the city students and blaimed education critics like Dianie Ravitch for the problems in education. This is the second Daily News Editorial that has ignored the lies of the Bloomberg/Klein Administration and blamed others. In fact, the Daily News editorial actually blamed the education unions. They said the following:

"The kids didn't fail. They were failed by a hidebound, union-driven education establishment that tends to adults before children - and is only now starting to be called on its distorted priorities."

Nowhere in the editorial did it blame the Bloomberg Administration for the increased class sizes, starving of school budgets, lack of parent input, and expensive no-bid contracts or treating the children as widgets rather than individuals. Instead the blame is falsely laid on the Principal and Teacher unions, no one else.

The New York daily News Editorial Board's articles on education would be more appropriate during the time of the Soviet Union and their mouthpiece "Pravda", not in this country. Such narrow minded thinking of a newspaper thathides the truth is not what is needed in a democratic society and should be ignored simply as the propaganda tool for the Bloomberg Administration it is.